Verizon files court appeal to stop FCC's net neutrality rules
Verizon Communications went to federal court Thursday to try to stop the Federal Communications Commission's new rules to guarantee open Internet access.
In a widely expected move, the telecommunications giant told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that the FCC exceeded its authority when it enacted regulations last month to forbid owners of high-speed lines and airwaves from favoring their services over those of competitors.
"We are deeply concerned by the FCC’s assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself," said Michael E. Glover, Verizon's deputy general counsel. "We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers.”
The FCC voted 3 to 2 along party lines last month to enact the regulations to ensure so-called net neutrality, a top priority of President Obama and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. The rules prohibit phone and cable companies that provide high-speed Internet service from blocking their customers' access to any legal content, applications or services.
The rules are tougher on wired service than on the still-developing market for wireless Internet service. And after years of debate, the regulations did not go as far as some Democrats and many digital rights advocates had wanted. That led to qualified support from some telecommunications companies, such as AT&T Inc.
But many congressional Republicans were outraged by the FCC's move and have pledged to try to stop it. Verizon, which said it is committed to an open Internet, has been outspoken in arguing the new regulations are not needed.
Genachowski's office did not immediately comment on the Verizon appeal.
-- Jim Puzzanghera
Photo: Consumer Electronics Association president and Chief Executive Officer Gary Shapiro, left, greets Verizon Communications Inc., chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ivan Seidenberg, right, and president and Chief Operating Officer Lowell McAdam during the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas on Jan. 6, 2011. Credit: Julie Jacobson/AP Photo